The common ground between growing a business and growing flowers

Parallels between nature and business are everywhere, but only if you take time to smell the flowers.

Parallels between nature and business are everywhere, but only if you take time to smell the flowers.

There’s a lot of common ground between growing a business and growing flowers. I have a passion for both.

For my entire career, my professional focus has always been to help leaders clarify their story, connect with the people who matter most, and change attitudes and behaviors – all dedicated to helping them grow.

Also, during the last 15 years, I’ve become an avid flower gardener.

I get great professional satisfaction knowing that our work leads directly to helping our clients and their leaders grow. I also get great personal satisfaction when I see our tower of blooming Clematis I planted several years ago.

Seven ways to ensure growth:

  1. Start with a solid foundation. Have a strategic plan that clearly shows how to grow a successful business. Be sure you have the resources (human, financial, experience, etc.) in place before moving into action. This is just like preparing a planting bed. Be sure the proper ratio of nutrients and fertile soil are in place before planting your flowers.
  2. Do it now. Nike got this part right. Just do it. Now is always the right time to work in your garden; now is always the right time to cultivate your business. You can always weed, feed, cultivate, plant, prepare the beds, etc. The old phrase, “you reap what you sow,” still rings true.
  3. Nourishment propels faster growth. All living things need to be nurtured. Provide regular intervals of water and food and you’ll have more and bigger flowers. Hire only excellent people and provide professional development through mentoring and effective training and you’ll have a vibrant, more engaged team.
  4. Cull the field. Not all business is good business; not all things growing in your garden are really flowers. And sometimes you have to prune to push out growth in other places.  Employees change jobs at an ever-increasing rate. You can greatly help an employee find a better place for his or her ambitions and skills. It’s all part of the cycle of life. Accept it, replace what’s not working, move forward.
  5. Share success. Many perennials do better when you thin them and share the shoots with others. Success begets success. Pass it on.
  6. Find the proper balance. Plant too many flowers, and none truly thrive. Too few, and the garden looks sparse. Grow your business too fast, and the quality of your work (and your life) may suffer. No growth, however, means no new opportunities. There’s a season for all things: work hard, then relax. Work the soil, then sit back and enjoy. Take time -- literally - to smell the roses. Enjoy and appreciate what you’ve built. You've earned it. Then get right back to work to help it grow even more.
  7. Develop patience. Sometimes, the only card you have left is time. Wait. Let things develop. You put good things in motion...let it play out. You've established a solid foundation and nourished and managed for growth. Time will work for you. But while it's really hard for leaders to be patient, good results will often "suddenly" appear.

The next time you see a thriving business or a beautiful garden, remember these seven steps. You too can get immense satisfaction from watching both your business and garden grow.